Jun 21, 2015

Guns Don't Shoot Themselves. There Are Many Other Explanations For High Gun Deaths In The States VS Iceland or Switzerland

Many people these days are arguing that if we find more guns in one place then that will automatically correspond to a higher death rate by guns. As if the guns jump of the shelves and attack people. As if gun safety is not an issue in the same way that airplane flight safety is not an issue. Airplanes fly themselves and guns shoot themselves. There is no handler besides the machine itself. 

If I can find just one example of a place with lots of guns and a low death rate by guns then we have to throw out the simple correlation that we found between the number of guns and number of deaths. Here I could insert some joke about how people in the media don't understand simple statistical concepts but it's probably connected to intentional incompetence to some degree. I also understand that to say that on this one issue the lunatics on the right may be right is very upsetting to people on the left especially if they have an emotional attachment to the people lost in the incident and they hear someone on the right speak (same is clearly true on the right in a surprisingly violent way).

2 examples;

The country had one mass shooting in 2001, but a resulting anti-gun referendum failed to pass. The Swiss will not give up the gun. Can their system work in the U.S.?

BBC:  is violent crime so rare in Iceland?

Iceland is awash in guns, yet it has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world. US law student Andrew Clark asks why.

Frankly, there is no perfect answer as to why Iceland has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.
{One part left out of the analysis was Ice Lands border problem, i.e. given that it's an island it doesn't have one. So the community will be more unified such as England or Japan - Ireland seems to have had outsider... shall we say, interference?}

According to the 2011 Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Iceland's homicide rate between 1999-2009 never went above 1.8 per 100,000 population on any given year.

On the other hand, the US had homicide rates between 5.0 and 5.8 per 100,000 population during that same stretch.

After visits with professors, government officials, lawyers, journalists and citizens, the pie-chart breakdown became clear - though admittedly, it is impossible to determine how much each factor contributes.

First - and arguably foremost - there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes in Iceland. And with that, tension between economic classes is non-existent, a rare occurrence for any country.

A study of the Icelandic class system done by a University of Missouri master's student found only 1.1% of participants identified themselves as upper class, while 1.5% saw themselves as lower class.

The remaining 97% identified themselves as upper-middle class, lower-middle class, or working class.

On one of three visits to Althing, the Icelandic parliament, I met Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, former chairman of the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Alliance. In his eyes - as well as those of many Icelanders I spoke with - equality was the biggest reason for the nation's relative lack of crime.

"Here you can have the tycoon's children go to school with everyone else," Sigurdsson says, adding that the country's social welfare and education systems promoted an egalitarian culture.

Crimes in Iceland - when they occur - usually do not involve firearms, though Icelanders own plenty of guns.

GunPolicy.org estimates there are approximately 90,000 guns in the country - in a country with just over 300,000 people.

The country ranks 15th in the world in terms of legal per capita gun ownership. However, acquiring a gun is not an easy process -steps to gun ownership include a medical examination and a written test

Police are unarmed, too. The only officers permitted to carry firearms are on a special force called the Viking Squad, and they are seldom called out.

In addition, there are, comparatively speaking, few hard drugs in Iceland.

According to a 2012 UNODC report, use among 15-64-year-olds in Iceland of cocaine was 0.9%, of ecstasy 0.5%, and of amphetamines 0.7%.

There is also a tradition in Iceland of pre-empting crime issues before they arise, or stopping issues at the nascent stages before they can get worse.

Right now, police are cracking down on organised crime while members of the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, are considering laws that will aid in dismantling these networks.

When drugs seemed to be a burgeoning issue in the country, the parliament established a separate drug police and drug court. That was in 1973.

Many people from Iceland, such as these marksmen, use firearms - yet gun crime is rare
In the first 10 years of the court, roughly 90% of all cases were settled with a fine.

There's an inimitable make-up of Iceland which, ostensibly and ideally, could provide guidelines for people in other nations who are looking for solutions to their crime issues.

If all instances can't be explained by the theory then the theory is mistaken and has to be rethought. Basic science.

I think the confusion arises from a shooting not being an earthquake. You can't blame anything on an earthquake because it is - mostly - out of your control, the way death is. But a gun is a physical presence that can be attacked as the cause of the problem especially when you don't understand statistics (a correlation isn't the same as cause & effect) and the media is not doing it's job, i.e. reporting...mostly just opinion pieces, i.e. leaving out essential data cause that's how they feel about it. I guess the effect of a gun is intimidating in a way standing next to an ocean cruise ship might be if it was on ground and you were next to it's hull, but without the fear of death. Add death and grief into the mix and we have a problem. That's the basic issue outline.

The problem is several fold but we can rest assured that it's the training and the structure of society that is the root of the high death by guns in the US. Even the tally of gun deaths Slate was keeping showed that a large percent of gun deaths were by suicide,i.e. they would have killed themselves no matter what. Certainly indicating a psychological problem in our society.

The fact that the GOP seems to be using the exact plan the CIA used to destabilize Iran in 1953... complicates the issue. 

Ultimately it comes down to; 

How can you be morally responsible for backing and promoting an idea (i.e. more guns equals more gun deaths) when you both; 
1. Have an example (2 actually Sweden & Iceland) where that isn't the case & 
2. A perfectly good psychological reason for why there are so many gun deaths/suicide and murders in the US. i.e. a break down of society caused by societal divisiveness by the GOP's political strategy of creating cult of lies (even if I don't include the scary resemblance of the GOP's actions to what the CIA did in Iran in 1953).

Unless we stop the breakdown of society and remove it's root causes and triggers... the high death rate will continue. Not to mention that we would be on the wrong side of history and our Constitutional traditions. My point is this, focusing on guns is focusing on a symptom. The problem lies deeper.

Links for further study;

Gun Sense

Notice that ISIS was given guns by the Bush Administration and left in an almost lawless society. A trend the GOP is working towards as we speak. If we allow the GOP to continue soon we will have a white ISIS but called something like The Judgement Of Christ, you know something home grown like the KKK or the Neo-Nazis or Nixon.

ISIS Exposed

The Iraq War Cover-Up

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